The Indian Queen loves chocolate

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11/10/2018 - 11/10/2018

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Xocoatl, a drink made from cocoa and spices with medicinal and even magical values, has been consumed in Mexico since 1900 BC. From the sixteenth century, the conquistadors, captivated by the gold of the Incas, tasted these tasty beans and took them to Europe where they joined the cohort of exotic products (spices, coffee, tea) imported via the new trade routes of the eastern and western Indies.
Is this what inspired Purcell for The Indian Queen (1695)? Quite characteristic of the English music of its time, the work tells a love story between an Inca general and the Queen of the Aztecs, during an imaginary conflict between these two pre-Columbian empires.
Purcell also frequented the first London chocolate factory, opened in 1657, and immersed himself in The new and curious treat of coffee, tea and chocolate written in 1688 by the Frenchman Philippe Sylvestre Dufour, who praised the qualities of these three new iconic products "necessary for doctors and all those who love their health".

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